Mansfield man celebrates ‘Saturday Night’ author with new mobile app

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Alan Sillitoe is best known for his novels ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ and ‘Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner’. Both literary classics that provide a rare glimpse of working class life in post-war Britain.

Now the Nottingham author’s iconic ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ has been developed as a digital trail for mobile phones.

Originally commissioned in April 2012 by Arts Council England, the Sillitoe Trail forms part of the BBC’s experimental digital arts platform The Space and is the brainchild of local man Paul Fillingham and Notts writer James Walker.

Endorsed by Alan’s Son David and the Alan Sillitoe Committee, the trail has taken six months to complete and features work by contemporary writers who revisit the themes and locations from the novel, comparing life in 1958 with that of the present day.

The Sillitoe Trail was developed by Mansfield-based Digital Agency thinkamigo. Creative Director Paul Fillingham discovered Sillitoe’s work in the 70’s after reading a short story entitled ‘Pit Strike’. The story describes the journey of Nottinghamshire miners as they march on London during the winter of discontent - the writer clearly made an impact on Paul, a miner’s son from Blidworth.

Alan Sillitoe died in 2010 but his legacy lives on through his iconic novels and now a digital trail that can be followed by cyclists and visitors to Nottingham.

“Alan was fascinated by maps and most of his novels are set in and around Nottinghamshire. So it seems fitting that his work should be reinterpreted as a Mobile App.” says trail creator Paul Fillingham.

The Mobile App focusses on locations like the Old Market Square and the former Raleigh Factory and includes historic photographs from the BFI, Nottinghamshire County Archives and Private Collections.

A built in QR-Code reader allows scanning of signage and print material offering audio commentary and additional information about locations that appear in the novel and Karel Reisz’s 1960 film adaptation.

The App has been designed for iPhone and a smartphone version is available from the Sillitoe Trail website where visitors can also download a lavishly illustrated eBook for tablet and desktop PCs – All downloads are free.

The Sillitoe Trail was launched at a special fund-raising event held at Nottingham Contemporary. The Alan Sillitoe Committee hope the App will help raise awareness of Alan’s work so that they can fund a permanent memorial to the author who helped put Nottinghamshire and working class people on the map.